Skip navigation.

Problem Texts for Sovereign Grace (Part 60) - 1Jo 2:2

|

For a paperback book in outline form which addresses over 150 difficult verses that Arminians use against Sovereign Grace, check out: Problem Texts for Sovereign Grace: Rooting Arminianism Out of Every Verse.

For a master copy of the outline, click here: Problem Texts for Sovereign Grace

149. 1Jo 2:2
A. "And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world." (1Jo 2:2)
B. Does this verse teach that Jesus died for the sins of the entire human race?

C. This verse is not teaching that Jesus died for the sins of the entire human race for five (5) reasons.

i. The "world" doesn't always refer to the entire human race in scripture.
a. World - III. The inhabitants of the earth, or a section of them.
b. "The world" is used many times in scripture to refer to a section of the human race.
c. Consider the following verses in which "the world" doesn't refer to the entire human race:
1. Luk 2:1 - Were you taxed by Caesar Augustus?
2. Joh 12:19 - Had the Pharisees gone after Jesus?
3. Rom 1:8 - Were the Incas discussing the faith of the Christians in Rome?
4. Act 19:27 - Were the apostles worshiping Diana?
5. 2Pe 2:5 - Were Noah and his family members of the world that was destroyed in the flood?
d. In all these verses, "the world" clearly refers to a portion of the human race.
e. Consider the different worlds the Bible speaks of:
1. The entire human race (Rom 3:19).
2. The Jewish world (Joh 15:18-25).
3. The Gentile world (Rom 11:12, 15).
4. The reprobate world (Joh 17:9).
5. The people under the control of the Roman Empire (Luk 2:1).
6. The elect for whom Christ died (2Co 5:19).
f. Since it is a fact that "the world" doesn't always necessarily refer the entire human race, each time "the world" is used, the context must be considered to determine what "world" is under consideration.

ii. The "whole world" never refers to the entire human race in the scripture.
a. The following is a list of every place where the phrase "whole world" is used in the Bible.
1. Job 34:13 - The "whole world" refers to the earth in this verse.
2. Mat 16:26; Mar 8:36; Luk 9:25 - The "whole world" in these verses refers to the things of this world and this life.
3. Mat 26:13; Mar 14:9 - The "whole world" in these verses refers to the earth.
4. Rom 1:8 - The "whole world" in this verses refers to "every place" in the earth (1Th 1:8).
5. 1Jn 2:2 - The "whole world" in this verse refers to all of God's elect from every nation, which will be proven in this section of the outline.
6. 1Jn 5:19 - The "whole world" in this verse refers to all of the reprobate who lie in wickedness, not to John and the faithful elect.
7. Rev 12:9 - The "whole world" in this verse refers to the wicked who are deceived by Satan, not to the faithful children of God who were not deceived (Rev 12:11, 17).
8. Rev 16:14 - The "whole world" in this verse refers to the wicked who are gathered together by Satan to make war against Jesus Christ and His church, not to the faithful children of God whom they are warring against and whom Jesus returns to save (Rev 20:8-9).
b. Nowhere in the Bible does the "whole world" refer to the entire human race without exception, including 1Jo 2:2.

iii. In 1Jo 2:2 "our" is set in distinction to "the whole world."
a. This shows that the "whole world" in this verse is in addition to John and his audience.
b. This proves that the "whole world" in this verse is not the entire human race.
c. In this same epistle, John shows that the "whole world" doesn't include himself and his audience (1Jo 5:19).

iv. 1Jo 2:2 states that Jesus Christ IS the propitiation for the sins of the whole world.
a. Propitiation - 1. The action or an act of propitiating; appeasement, conciliation; atonement, expiation.
1. Atonement n. - 1. The condition of being at one with others; unity of feeling, harmony, concord, agreement. 3. spec. in Theol. Reconciliation or restoration of friendly relations between God and sinners. 4. Propitiation of an offended or injured person, by reparation of wrong or injury; amends, satisfaction, expiation. b. Theol. Propitiation of God by expiation of sin.
2. Expiation n. - 1. The action of expiating or making atonement for (crime, etc.). in expiation (of): for the purpose of expiating. to make expiation: to atone. Also, the condition or state of being expiated.
3. Expiate v. - 1. trans. To avert (evil) by religious ceremonies 2. To cleanse, purify (a person, a city) from guilt or pollution by religious ceremonies. 3. To do away or extinguish the guilt of (one's sin); to offer or serve as a propitiation for.
b. 1Jo 2:2 says that Jesus Christ IS the propitiation for sins.
1. It doesn't say He could be the propitiation for sins if the sinner accepts it.
2. It doesn't say He will be the propitiation for sins if the sinner believes in Him.
3. It doesn't say He wants to be the propitiation for sins.
c. In that Jesus Christ IS the propitiation for sins, that means that:
1. Christ appeased God's wrath for the sinners that He died for.
2. Christ made reconciliation between God and the sinners that He died for.
3. Christ made atonement for the sinners that He died for.
4. This means that whomever Christ is the propitiation for is saved and at one with God.
5. This means that there is no condemnation for those for whom Christ is the propitiation.
d. Given that Christ IS the propitiation for the sins of the whole world, if the whole world is the entire human race without exception, then the entire human race is reconciled to God, is at one with God, and is not under condemnation for their sin.
1. This is clearly not the case given that most men are not saved and are going to hell (Mat 25:41, 46; Rev 20:15; Jud 1:7).
2. Therefore, the "whole world" for whom Christ IS the propitiation is NOT the entire human race.

v. Christ is the advocate for the sinners for whom He is the propitiation (1Jo 2:1).
a. An advocate is similar to a mediator.
1. Advocate n. - 1. One whose profession it is to plead the cause of any one in a court of justice; a counsellor or counsel. 2. fig. and gen. One who pleads, intercedes, or speaks for, or in behalf of, another; a pleader, intercessor, defender. b. Specially, applied to Christ as the Intercessor for sinners.
2. Mediator n. - 1. One who intervenes between two parties, esp. for the purpose of effecting reconciliation; one who brings about (a peace, a treaty) or settles (a dispute) by mediation. 2. Theol. One who mediates between God and man; applied esp. to Jesus Christ (cf. 1 Tim. ii. 5).
3. Mediation n. - 1. a. Division by two; division into two equal parts; halving, bisection. Obs. 2. Agency or action as a mediator; the action of mediating between parties at variance; intercession on behalf of another.
4. Like a mediator who intervenes between two parties who are at odds with each other, an advocate intervenes between a defendant and the judge who stands ready to punish him if he is found to be guilty.
5. Christ pleads and intercedes for those for whom He died on the basis of His death and sufferings which He did in their stead.
b. If Jesus Christ was the advocate for the entire human race, then they would all be declared innocent by God the Judge of all (Heb 12:23-24).
1. This is not the case though; when the books are opened on judgment day, many will be found guilty and will be punished for eternity in the lake of fire (Rev 20:11-15).
2. Christ is not the mediator for the entire human race, but only for "they which are called" (Heb 9:15).
3. "The called" are the elect whom God foreknew and predestinated to be justified by Christ's death and intercession for them (Rom 8:28-34).
c. Since Christ is not the advocate for every member of the human race, then neither is He the propitiation for every member of the human race.

D. Who then is the "whole world" in 1Jo 2:2?
i. Since it has been proved that the "whole world" in 1Jo 2:2 is not, and cannot be, the entire human race, then who is it?
ii. If we find out for whose sins Christ is the propitiation, we will have identified the identity of "the whole world" in 1Jo 2:2.

a. John said that Jesus Christ is the propitiation for our sins.
1. To whom did he write his epistle?
i. If we can identify the recipients of the epistle, we will know for whose sins Christ is the propitiation.
ii. John did not write his epistle to the entire human race, reprobates, unbelievers, the unregenerate, nor the unsaved.
2. John wrote to people whose sins were already forgiven (1Jo 2:12).
i. Those whose sins are forgiven are the elect (Eph 1:4-7).
ii. Therefore, John wrote to the elect.
3. John wrote to believers in Jesus Christ (1Jo 5:13).
i. Those who believe in Jesus Christ are the elect (1Th 1:4-5).
ii. Therefore, John wrote to the elect.
4. It was already proven that Jesus Christ is NOT the propitiation of the sins of the entire human race, else they would all be reconciled to God (see above).
i. Therefore, Jesus is the propitiation for the sins of the elect (those chosen by God out of the human race).
ii. Therefore, God's elect are "the whole world" in 1Jo 2:2.

b. "Propitiation" is a synonym of "atonement."
1. Propitiation - 1. The action or an act of propitiating; appeasement, conciliation; atonement, expiation.
2. The only place "atonement" is used in the New Testament is in Rom 5:11.
3. Paul said that it is by our Lord Jesus Christ that "we have now received the atonement."
4. To whom was Paul writing when he said that "we" (himself and the recipients of his epistle) have received the atonement?
i. If we can identify the recipients of the epistle, we will know for whose sins Christ is the atonement and propitiation.
ii. Paul did not write his epistle to the entire human race, reprobates, unbelievers, the unregenerate, nor the unsaved.
5. Paul wrote the epistle to "the called of Jesus Christ" who were "called to be saints" (Rom 1:6-7).
i. "The called" are those who were foreknown and predestinated to be conformed to the image of Christ (Rom 8:28-30).
ii. Therefore, "the called" are the elect (Rom 8:33; 1Pe 1:2).
iii. Therefore, Paul wrote the book of Romans to the elect.
iv. Therefore, the elect are those who have received the atonement (Rom 5:11).
v. Therefore, the elect are those for whom Christ is the propitiation for their sins.
6. Therefore, the whole world in 1Jo 2:2 are God's elect.

iii. Why are the elect called the "whole world" in 1Jo 2:2?
a. John was an apostle to the Jews (Gal 2:7-9).
b. Some of the Jews were God's elect (Rom 11:1-2).
c. But not all of the Jews were elect (Rom 9:27-29).
d. Nor are all of the elect from the nation of Israel (Rom 11:7).
e. Some of the Gentiles which were not part of the nation of Israel were also God's elect (Rom 9:23-24).
f. God has elect children for whose sins Christ is the propitiation in every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation (Rev 5:9).
g. Therefore, John used the phrase "the whole world" to make it clear to his Jewish audience that Jesus Christ was not only the propitiation of the sins of elect Jews, but also for the elect Gentiles from every nation throughout the whole world.